Google is the modern American voter's oracle, able to provide an answer to almost any question. Which is why the McCain and Obama teams pay to put their websites on its pages. Hitwise, a Web research firm, helped us dig up the search terms which the campaigns' have selected to show their ads against over the last 12 weeks.The terms reveal what the politicians' Web-savvy advertisers believe is on the public's mind — such deep issues as "sarah palin vogue," "raising mccain lyrics," "obama birth certificate," and "obama as a muslim." The entire list:McCain's paid search terms:
Google and Yahoo lawyers are in Washington today, trying to argue that a deal to outsource much of Yahoo's search advertising business won't give Google undue control over the market. A new Hitwise report released today should make their task a bit more difficult. It reveals that in June, Google searches accounted for 69.2 percent of all U.S. queries; Yahoo, 19.6 percent. Together, that's 88.8 percent. Third-place irrelevancy Microsoft comes in at 5.5 percent — which isn't enough to make a dent in the search-ads market. Advertisers tell us that giving Google that much control over the market could ratchet up ad prices by 25 percent.
Why is Jerry Yang clinging so desperately to Yahoo's search business, when Microsoft has made no secret of its willingness to buy it for billions of dollars? Sheer stubbornness, it seems. Heather Hopkins, an analyst at traffic-trends researcher Hitwise, has run the numbers, and found that Yahoo Search, while a decent standalone business, doesn't contribute much to the rest of Yahoo. Google accounts for far more traffic to almost all of Yahoo's properties. Ah, but perhaps that's where Yang's stubbornness comes from.
ABC has the most popular television network website, just a shade more popular than NBC.com among the six broadcasters sampled by HitWise. But both websites are down in their relative share of the online audience, while CBS has greatly increased visits. Why? Well, for starters, CBS is ahead in the year-to-date ratings race for actual television. The top draws to the network sites are, once again, competitions and other game shows — American Idol was the top draw for Fox, Deal or No Deal for NBC and Dancing With the Stars for ABC. Almost every site, however, kept users on longer, with the average user spending three more minutes on CBS. Only visits to NBC got shorter, probably because some users are going to Hulu to watch full episodes of shows like The Office and 30 Rock
The latest data from Hitwise shows YouTube claiming over 73 percent of the online video market in the United States — a larger share in its home market than even its parent compan, Google, enjoys in search. That figure is up 18 percentage points over March of last year, when YouTube had 55 percent of the market. Problem is, these numbers represent significant growth in viewership, but not growth in advertising sales or revenue, leaving Google on the hook for ever-expanding bandwidth costs.
Nielsen/NetRatings (motto: "Awkward name, slightly-less-sketchy results") is reportedly dropping pageviews as their top metric, replacing this standard measure of web traffic with "total time spent" on a site. The upshot? Google.com and YouTube.com could swap places on the list of most popular sites. This is actually a big deal and a good move, for several simple reasons.